Shenzhen International Energy Mansion by BIG



Danish architects Bjarke Ingels Group have won an international competition to design a low-energy tower for the Shenzhen Energy Company in Shenzhen, China.


The 200m-tall headquarters features a folded facade to shade the interior from the sun while solar panels help to reduce energy use by 60%.


More BIG: see our recent story on Astana National Library in Kazakhstan by BIG.


Here's some info from BIG:


BIG to design sustainable skyscraper in Shenzhen, China.

BIG, in collaboration with ARUP and Transsolar, was awarded first-prize in an international competition to design Shenzhen International Energy Mansion, the regional headquarters for the Shenzhen Energy Company.


The purpose of the international design competition was to find a sustainable and efficient solution for the Shenzhen Energy Company office headquarters. Located in the centre of Shenzhen, the 96,000 square meter project will be integrated with the surrounding environment and designed to withstand the tropical climate of the city. BIG’s winning proposal was selected by the jury experts from Shenzhen Municipal Planning Bureau chaired by Alejandro Zaera-Polo and client representatives.


The headquarters rises 200 meters creating a new landmark visible from the highway in the cultural, political and business center of Shenzhen. BIG envisions combining a practical and efficient floor plan layout with a sustainable façade that both, passively and actively reduce the energy consumption of the building. The façade is conceived as a folded skin that shades the office complex from direct sunlight and integrates solar thermal panels, reducing the overall energy consumption of the building.


Design Evolution
The skyscraper has evolved as an economically efficient way to provide flexible, functional and well illuminated workspaces for dense populations of professionals. It has, however, evolved at a time when air conditioning and electric lighting are merely seen as modern solutions to modern demand, without thought being given to environmental consequences or energy shortages.


Today, the skyscraper needs to evolve into a new sustainable species. It must retain its highly evolved qualities such as flexibility, daylight, views, density and general usability while advancing new and untested attributes such as ways of combining maximum daylight exposure with minimal sunshine exposure or integrated ways of limiting the need for cooling.


“We propose to make the Shenzhen Energy Mansion the first specimen of a new species of office buildings that exploits the buildings interface with the external elements - sun, daylight, humidity, wind – as a source to create maximum comfort and quality inside. The Shenzhen Energy Mansion will appear as a subtle mutation of the classic skyscraper – a natural evolution rather than a desperate revolution.”
Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner, BIG.


Curtain wall
The traditional glass façade has little insulation leaving the offices overheated by direct sunlight. This results in excessive energy consumption for air conditioning and the need for a heavy glass coating that makes the view seem permanently dull and grey.


“The towers are based on an efficient and well-proven floor plan enclosed in a skin specifically modified and optimized for the local climate. By focusing on the envelope, the façade, we are able to enhance the sustainable performance of the building drastically.”
Andreas Klok Pedersen, Project Leader, BIG.


By folding the façade in an origami like shape we achieve a structure with closed and open parts. The closed parts provide a highly-insulated façade, while blocking the direct sunlight. On the outside the closed parts are fitted with solar thermal heat panels that power the air conditioning and provide dehumidification for the working spaces.


The folded wall provides a free view through clear glass in one direction creating a condition with plenty of diffused daylight by reflecting the direct sunlight between the interior panels. Even with direct sun from east or west, the majority of the solar rays reflect off the glass, due to the flat angle of the window. The reflected rays increase the efficiency of solar thermal energy panels. The combination of minimal passive solar heating and active solar panels reduce the energy consumption by more than 60%.



CLIENT: Shenzhen Energy Company
SIZE: 96.000 M2
LOCATION: Shenzhen, China
STATUS: 1st Prize


Partner-In-Charge: Bjarke Ingels
Project Leader: Andreas Klok Pedersen
Team: Cat Huang, Alex Cozma, Fan Zhang, Kuba Snopek, Flavien Menu, Stanley Lung


More Dezeen stories about Shenzhen:


Shenzhen Crystal Island by OMA and Urbanus

Posted on Monday September 7th 2009 at 9:07 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Majestic

    congratulations BIG – the facade concept reads as intreaguing as the appearance itself!

  • ios

    looks quite like AA Dip5 project(s)

  • Nice!!!!
    really nice ironic facade!
    a curtain wall swings open. looks like a glued on paperstrip. Hope the build version will look just as ironic!
    Like the “best” supermarkets transformed to a skycraper.
    Viva Postmodernism!
    tear it all apart!

  • martin


  • creature

    Not that I have a problem with the project itself, but how does this project conceptually coincide with anything BIG has done before?

  • Nathan

    I am a big fan. Yeah, I said it.

  • Hilmar Þór

    BIG is obviously getting better.

    Even good

    This is a really controlled and sophisticate approach.

    A high class architecture respecting the disciplines.

    Far better than the Tallinn project and most of the others from BIG.

    Who is so good at BIG´s studio at the moment?


  • norm

    sorry but this is by far the worst I’ve seen from BIG, a practice that I envy their smartness and intelligent play on form / program. This, however does not even come close as being smart, distinct or innovative.. Tilting the panel angles is not enough to create a self claimed “evolved” curtain wall. There has been ground breaking achievement in this field, they should have looked at recent work by SOM and Smith & Gill on sustainable skyscrapers.. There are methods and technology out there, way ahead of what they are proposing..

    If “form” is the focus, then it fails to satisfy on this front as well, rex and oma has done so much research on programmatic & formal manipulation of highrises..

    An inspiring office like BIG fails in every front with this one, although they are surely proposing something that they know that it is deliverable..

  • biboarchitect

    The transparency of the model tells something completely different from the rendered images.. any way.. i don’t like it..

    Also the idea of paper strips can go far away than this, as gehry did in the New York Times building competition, although i wasnt a big fan of his proposal, but there was much more thinking than here.

  • Chen

    Solar panel can only be used in the afternoon?!

  • Max

    I completely agee with ios. I was also reminded immediately of the work on skyscrapers produced by George 2L’s AA diploma unit.

  • kku

    Oh yeah –
    there were about ten projects EXACTLY like this in Diploma unit 5 at AA last year. Nice copy, though. The models too.

  • Excuse me but – are you all , students?…..
    ’cause all your (real) points make me believe that.
    BIG is a thing that also need to make PROFIT, so….is a aim of them( I suppose) not to skip this fat oportunity from China. Because THERE is the real market for big(:)) projects. Europe, you must believe me, is falling – at least, from the financial point of view.
    So , for a big(or BIG?) architectural studio is a must to have a hudge project done in China, Arabia or other place like this, no matters what(infortunately, no?).
    Don’t be so angry on them – just stay cool and have a second thought.Today is hard to keep together a big(BIG?) architectural team in Europe or U.S, believe me or ask the guys in charge with.
    See you at future architectural competitions . In “cold water” is easier to face/understand that truth who’s behind the nice architectural concepts, inovative ideas, etc.
    One of the most interesting architectural contest can be on this: how to make good architecture with fee= O for architects in entire world?

    was interesting to read your ideas